Hiroshi Ishiguro and his Androids

Posted 26 Apr 2006 at 22:25 UTC by steve Share This

A new Scientific American article highlights the android creations of Hiroshi Ishiguro of the Osaka University Intelligent Robotics Lab. His most life-like android, Repliee Q2, a robotic duplicate of human Ayako Fujii, has been in the news a lot this year. But Hiroshi has also created a number of other robots. He was inspired by Star Trek's Mr. Data and sees the development of androids as a path to understanding humans. He believes Repliee is life-like enough to overcome the negative emotional reactions known as the "uncanny valley". His next project is to build an even more life-like android duplicate of himself.

It's not just about looks..., posted 27 Apr 2006 at 14:41 UTC by stokes » (Apprentice)

Good looks alone won't keep you out of the Uncanny Valley; movement is equally (if not more) important. Interacting with an android that didn't move enough would be unsettling. I've had a couple of somewhat mentally unbalanced friends over the years, and one trait they had in common was sitting abnormally still. Also, they often spoke without the appropriate facial expressions. While they were usually quite lucid, there was the undeniable feeling that something was 'off'. One of them, aware of the way he spoke, tried to consciously make the proper facial expressions. The effect was worse; the timing was slightly off and the expressions did not happen at the right speed. Do we have synthetic 'twitch muscles' that are fast enough and strong enough to do realistic facial expression?

Are there any videos of these androids in action?

video and twitching, posted 27 Apr 2006 at 15:06 UTC by steve » (Master)

If you follow the Repliee Q2 link in the story there are links to several MPEG videos at the bottom of the page.

There are other pages on the site describing the use of sinusoidal waves to generate human like motion when making gestures. They claim the head contains 42 actuators used to produce "humanlike imperfections" of motion such as blinking and facial twitches.

Even so, they say the illusion that it's human only holds for a few seconds. If you observe it longer than that, it becomes obvious it's a robot.

See more of the latest robot news!

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